Bloom Day, February 2009

February 15, 2009

Another bloom day already.  Under normal circumstances, this would be the bloom day with the least blooms to show.  However, we’ve had an unusually warm winter here in Austin, Tx and finally a little rain this past week and things were blooming all over.  I know that you gardeners up in the northen states haven’t been so lucky this winter, so I hope that a few bloom photos from here in sunny Texas will help pull you through til your spring thaw.

Delphinium blooming it's little heart out.

Delphinium blooming it's little heart out.

The first one that I want to show is the delphinium

Delphinium elatum

bloom.  You might notice the ceramic tile in the background and the fact that it’s rather dark.  This one is a bit of a cheat I guess, because yesterday it was blooming so nicely in the front yard until my dog stepped on it and broke it off, so I actually took this on the 14th.  You may fire me if you wish for not following the rules, but I thought it deserved a place in the blog.

Staghorn and Maidenhair ferns

Staghorn and Maidenhair ferns

I might as well get this rule violation out of the way too.  Not technically a flower, this staghorn fern

Platycerium bifurcatum

with a little maidenhair fern poking out looked so good I thought it needed to be seen as well.  Fire me and flog me if you must.

the little troopers

the little troopers

Of the things blooming in the yard today, the violas violacaea viola were giving the best show.  All of my plants were covered in blooms.  Next year I’ll be planting more of these and probably no pansies (which haven’t done so great this year).

Fraternal twins

Fraternal twins

viola

Blooming in a pot with the chamomile

Blooming in a pot with the chamomile

The statice

Limonium sinuatum

was in full bloom (still) with lots of buds just about to open,

Statice in front of the seloum

Statice in front of the seloum

and the sweet allysum

Lobularia maritima

was going crazy too, filling the air with it’s aroma.

Candytuft with some dianthus popping up on top

Candytuft with some dianthus popping up on top

The obligatory close-up.sweet-allysumI was surprised to find this brugmansia

Brugmansia ‘Marbach’

bloom just about to open and so I thought I’d throw it in here even though it is not technically in bloom.

Looks like some sort of alien about to give birth

Feed me, Seymour

This is the very first bloom off of my princess flower

Tibouchina candolleana

.  It just opened up today (I guess it knew what the date was).

They consider these weeds in Hawaii

They consider these weeds in Hawaii

and the Euphorbia in bloom as always.

euphorbiaHad just a couple of the dianthus “Spooky Mix”

Dianthus ‘Spooky Mix’

in bloom.

Kinda pathetic, but technically still a bloom

Kind of anemic looking, but technically still a bloom

The dianthus generally weren’t blooming as well as before, but a couple of the plants still had a few flowers on them.

Blurry dianthus

Blurry dianthus

But they were still putting out a few blooms.

Hot pink on a chilly morning

Hot pink on a chilly morning

Here’s the old ice plant

Delosperma cooperi

with buds that will be opening up by afternoon.

ice-plantA kind of scraggling looking petunia

Petunia grandiflora

bloom, but a bloom nonetheless.

petuniaAnd here you have a snapdragon

Antirrhinum majus

blooming for the second year in a row (that’s right!  It bloomed last year in this same pot)

Second year snapdragon

Second year snapdragon

The old donkey ear kalanchoe Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri is still blooming profusely

aloeLots of blooms still on the verbena

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena blooming in front of the bi-color sage

Verbena blooming in front of the bi-color sage

and another…verbenaThe rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

was putting on it’s first blooms of the season

rosemary

And last, but certainly not least, the kangaroo paw

Anigozanthos flavidus

kangaroo-pawThis is an Australian plant.  I purchased this plant last spring and it looked like warmed over death all summer.  I really thought it had died, so I just tossed it into the storage shed with some other plants and noticed a couple of weeks ago that it was covered in blooms.  It seems to like abuse.  It’s gonna love me.

kangaroo-paw21Well that’s it for this post.  Many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens  http://maydreamsgardens.blogspot.com/ for hosting Bloom Day and for coming up with the idea.  Thanks so much for visiting my blog at my new address.  Stay tuned for more, and more timely posts.

As you may have noticed, I have a new blog address.  I was having so much trouble with my postings on the other site that I abandoned blogger.com and switched over to WordPress.comto see if I would experience the same issues.  I didn’t, so now this will be my new address.   I have several postings that I had typed up on the other site that were never published due to these problems. I’ll post them here in the near future.

I’ve been working like a slave for the past few weeks trying to get my yard ready for all the planting I need to do this spring to prepare for the Garden Tour this coming October.  A couple of weeks ago I took a jackhammer to the driveway to turn it into a garden area.  I put an ad on Craigslist.org advertising “Free Recycled Concrete Pavers” and within a few days all the large chunks were gone.  I even borrowed a jackhammer from a very generous stranger via Craigslist.  Gotta love that site!!

Once all of the large chunks were gone, I moved all of the small chunks of concrete to the backyard to serve as the base of a mound I’ll be building soon.  Then I trucked in a yard of compost and tilled it all into the (rock hard) soil.  I don’t think there was a muscle in my body that wasn’t sore afterward.

The finished product

The finished product ready to be planted

During all of this, I also decided to start fostering dogs for Austin Dog Rescue austindog.org .  I already have a dog from Town Lake Animal Center and I finally found a home for the dog I found wandering the streets of my neighborhood last April.  Phoebe was obviously lonesome being the only dog in the house and I thought that fostering would be a good way to find a playmate for her.  Well the first dog I fostered turned out to be perfect.  I filled out the paperwork and he’s now mine.

Sanko freshly neutered modeling his bite collar.  How could I resist that face?

Sanko freshly neutered modeling his bite collar. How could I resist that face?

On our way out of Austin, we made a stop at Emerald Garden Nursery and Water Gardens http://www.pondsandgarden.com/ .  They are located on Highway 290 West, so it was right on the way.  This place is a bit difficult to see from the highway, but you really should  find it.  They have a great selection of plants and the one of the best selections of items for water gardens in Central Texas.

Emerald Garden sign

Emerald Garden sign

johnson-city-012This was my favorite water feature.   Really cool, but way out of my budget.  johnson-city-031A few more of the many fountains. johnson-city-018Here’s a shot of their in ground pond behind the building.johnson-city-0351

You can even get your snakes or cute little water turtles at Emerald Garden.  johnson-city-0381

Honestly, it’s a great place.  Google map it and go!

The reason we were going to Johnson City is that Cheryl http://consciousgardening.blogspot.com/ needed to buy some cedar posts to make a fence.  She found a good deal in JC and I’m always up for a road trip.  Cheryl had called ahead about the posts and asked the lady that she had spoken with about a good Mexican restaurant in town where we could eat.  The woman said that there aren’t really any restaurants that would compare with Austin Tex-Mex, but said that El Charro was pretty good.  Well it was pretty good.  I thought so anyway (but then I have an iron stomach).  Cheryl was less than impressed.  She was determined to find a vegetarian dish and asked me if I thought the fish plate might be vegetarian fish tacos.  I explained to her than in small towns (I grew up in Coldwater, Kansas.  Population 900, so I know a bit about small towns) cater to the locals and are liable to offer just about anything on their menus (I pointed to the hamburger and fries).  I pointed out that fish tacos usually don’t come with a side of fries.  We were greeted with a blank stare by our waiter when Cheryl asked about fish tacos and the same way when we asked about margaritas.  They don’t serve them.  I had the chicken enchiladas which I thought weren’t bad (they were better than frozen dinners) but Cheryl could hardly swallow her cheese enchiladas.

You know you're in a small town when you see this over the entrance to a goat farm

You know you're in a small town when you see a sign like this over the entrance to a goat farm

We left El Charro on a mission to find a margarita.  But before we had a cocktail (and our judgement became impaired) I insisted that we stop at Pieces of the Past http://www.pieces-of-the-past.com/.  Pieces of the past is an architectural salvage place that used to be located in Austin.  I was so disappointed when I noticed a couple of years ago that it had closed.  I can’t remember how I found out it was in JC, but I have been wanting to head out there to visit ever since.  The owner, Kathy Johnson (no relation to the city), had just returned from a buying jaunt in Kansas and was unloading her truck and trailer when we arrived.  I was really excited to be getting a first hand look at the new/old merchandise.

Pieces of the Past

Pieces of the Past

There were no disappointments with the place.  Although this store was smaller than the Austin location, it was packed to the gills with all sorts of artifacts.  She specializes in old doors but also has a huge assortment of lawn furniture, windows, art, antique doorknobs and other hardware and many other things too numerous to mention.

This is the real thing guys and girls.

This is the real thing guys and girls.

Cheryl got a great deal on a giant metal chicken sculpture for her yard (it was as big as me) and I scored with a really cool brightly painted wheel mold from Pakistan.

My fabulous wheel mold

My fabulous wheel mold

This place is worth a trip.  Johnson City is right on the way to Fredericksburg, so be sure to stop in on the way.  Call first to make sure they’re open as it’s by appointment.

I loved this cool old screen door

I loved this cool old screen door

Tell Kathy that H0rselips sent you.

Need an old sink?  A little tractor for the kids?

Need an old sink? A little tractor for the kids?

Stained glass windows?

Stained glass windows?

Screen doors?  Chairs and tables?

Screen doors? Chairs and tables?

I could have wandered the grounds all day, but the siren song of the margarita was calling.  We had asked people everywhere we went where to go for a margarita in town and had been told over and over that there wasn’t anywhere.  We persisted and finally found someone that told us that the only place you could get margaritas was at the Cupboard.

Over 3 dozen sold

World's Best Chicken Fried Steak: Over 3 dozen sold

We hightailed it over there as fast as Cheryl’s little pickup could take us.  This place is like a step into Texas’ past.  It’s an old dance hall with a jukebox, old men smoking cigarettes and a very friendly staff.  The staff seemed somewhat perplexed about our order, but they mixed up some old rotgut tequila and lemonade (?) in a blender and served it up.

This was our poison

This was our poison

Now I am not very picky about my beverages (I’ll drink anything to get a nice buzz) so I slammed it on down.  Cheryl couldn’t drink it though and ended up leaving about half the glass.  I have to admit that it wasn’t the best margarita I had ever had, far from it, but I love to get my drink on.  Besides, I wasn’t driving.

We stumbled out of there and headed off to pickup  a load of cedar.  This wasn’t really a business per se, but an empty lot full of posts (I guess the office was the guy’s pickup).  They had a vast assortment of all sizes and quickly loaded up the pickup for us.  Cheryl stayed with the pickup while I wandered the grounds.  I was very surprised to see a llama.

My artistic shot of a cedar post

My artistic shot of a cedar post

Senor (or senorita) Llama

Senor (or senorita) Llama

Johnson City; home of chrome bull statues made of recycled car parts

Johnson City; home of chrome bull statues made of recycled car parts

Well all loaded up with wheel molds, giant metal chickens and cedar poles, we headed back to Austin.  We had noticed a little place called “Rolling in Thyme and Dough” on the way out and decided to stop on the way back.

johnson-city-109

Their sign advertises bakery, bistro, catering and espresso bar and also a plant nursery.  Unfortunately we arrived 5 minutes after their closing time of 3 pm.  However the kind employees let us wander the grounds.

I thought their deer resistance scale was pretty humorous (and accurate)

I thought their deer resistance scale was pretty humorous (and accurate)

I look forward to checking the place out again when it’s open.  The prices were very reasonable and the selection was pretty good as well.

Hollyhock in bloom on the grounds

Hollyhock in bloom on the grounds

Well that’s it for this post.  I’m not sure where we’ll end up on our next trip.  Tomorrow Cheryl and I are heading to College Station to attend a garden design class.  Not sure if I’ll find anything worth photographing in CS, but if I do, I’ll post it here.

Til next time!

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